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Angela Blake Michelle

Associate Director - Executive Education and Top Talent Development

Verizon Ventures LLC

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Verizon Ventures LLC

499 Hamilton Ave.

Palo Alto, California 94301

United States

Company Description

Verizon Ventures seeks and invests in promising entrepreneurial companies who are tackling some of today's biggest technological challenges for Verizon's consumer and enterprise customers. Over the last decade Verizon Ventures has invested in more than fo ... more

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Background Information

Employment History

Associate Director - Workforce Development

Verizon Wireless

Web References

"In our industry of rapid technological ...

www.trainingmag.com [cached]

"In our industry of rapid technological advancement and increasingly tech-savvy customers, it is vitally important that we think differently, to do differently," explains Angela Blake, associate director, Workforce Development, Verizon Wireless. "Knowing that the business challenges of tomorrow are different than what we know today, our leaders need skills to help stimulate new thinking that can drive breakthrough innovation. Improved CT skills can improve the ability to make better business decisions, which can drive better associated results."

To meet these challenges, Verizon Wireless is implementing a Critical Thinking training program designed to help leaders become more effective decision-makers, to use systematic methods for problem-solving, to understand others' points of view, and to create a culture of critical and creative thinking. "The program is intended to grow these capabilities in a practical way, as well as develop critical thinking capabilities beyond the traditional focal area of operational task and execution as our leaders progress in tenure and experience. Blake says CT helps VZW leaders have a mental awareness of a situation, analyze options for clarity and accuracy, and make decisions that translate into an improved customer experience and greater profitability.
"Therefore, some information that was considered common knowledge for a senior leader may not be necessarily known by our first-year managers," Blake says. Methods and theories that support team growth and continuity may not be applicable to a first-year manager. "As a result, we created a multi-level series of workshops that complemented one another and supported consistent methods and techniques in a 'build-on-each' type of progression."
To obtain buy-in from senior leadership, "we created a core team of key stakeholders, as well as senior leaders within the organization, who would be most affected by the results of the training," Blake says. "Our focus groups also included a mixture of cross-area, cross-functional representation to ensure we were solving for the right level of leadership and role-specific business realities."
Blake says Verizon's primary investment was time, in particular time to complete the research to find the right learning solutions partner to help develop the content and materials.
According to Blake, from the VZLeader 2 course inaugural session through February 28, 2011, 100 percent of CT participants improved their on-the-job application of their new CT knowledge and skills. "Feedback from both participants and trainers has been positive," Blake says. "Some learners have found that using their new skills back on the job has resulted in better coaching engagements with employees, while others have found break-through solutions for previously outstanding business problems and clarity in their customer interactions."
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